Patents Examined by Jack W. Keith
  • Patent number: 11152127
    Abstract: A method for replacing a cesium trap includes freezing the cesium trap which partially contains cesium and is located within a shielded cell and. The cesium trap is then decoupled and removed from the shielded cell. A second cesium trap is inserted into the shielded cell and attached to the shielded cell.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 29, 2018
    Date of Patent: October 19, 2021
    Assignee: TerraPower LLC
    Inventors: Robert A. Corbin, John E. Truax
  • Patent number: 11145424
    Abstract: A molten chloride fast reactor (MCFR) includes a plurality of reflectors defining a central core having a core geometric center. A flow channel fluidically connected to the central core. The flow channel includes an outlet flow channel downstream of the central core and an inlet flow channel upstream from the central core. A primary heat exchanger (PHX) disposed outside the central core and between the outlet flow channel and the inlet flow channel. The MCFR also includes a decay heat heat exchanger (DHHX). At least a portion of the DHHX is disposed above the core geometric center, and a fuel salt is configured to circulate at least partially through the outlet flow channel, the DHHX, the PHX, the inlet flow channel, and the central core.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 31, 2019
    Date of Patent: October 12, 2021
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Ryan Abbott, Anselmo T. Cisneros, Kevin Kramer, James A. Roecker, Daniel J. Walter, Kent E. Wardle
  • Patent number: 11133115
    Abstract: Disclosed is a nuclear fuel rod including at least one or more fuel pellets, a cladding tube surrounding the fuel pellets, and burnable absorber inside the cladding tube. The burnable absorber comprises a burnable absorber material and a cladding material surrounding the burnable absorber material. The burnable absorber has a disk shape, and the cladding material is an alloy comprising zirconium.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 21, 2020
    Date of Patent: September 28, 2021
    Assignee: KOREA ADVANCED INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
    Inventors: Yonghee Kim, Seongdong Jang, Xuan Ha Nguyen
  • Patent number: 11127507
    Abstract: A sensor system for a fuel rod including a fuel pellet stack, the sensor system including a wireless interrogator disposed outside the fuel rod and a passive sensor component disposed within the fuel rod. The passive sensor component includes a receiver structured to receive an interrogation signal and output an excitation signal in response to receiving the interrogation signal, a reference transmitter structured to output a reference signal to the reference receiver in response to the excitation signal, a sensing transmitter structured to output a sensing signal to the sensing receiver in response to the excitation signal, and a core at least partially disposed within the sensing transmitter and coupled to move in conjunction with expansion or contraction of the fuel pellet stack, to move based on changes in pressure within the fuel rod, or to change temperature based on temperature changes within the fuel rod.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 9, 2019
    Date of Patent: September 21, 2021
    Assignee: Westinghouse Electric Company LLC
    Inventors: Jeffrey L. Arndt, Jorge V. Carvajal, Shawn C. Stafford
  • Patent number: 11120918
    Abstract: A base portion for use in a bottom nozzle of a fuel assembly in a nuclear reactor includes a top surface, a bottom surface, and a plurality of vertical wall portions arranged in a generally squared grid-like pattern which extend between the bottom surface and the top surface and which define a plurality of non-circular passages passing between the bottom surface and the top surface through the base portion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 16, 2018
    Date of Patent: September 14, 2021
    Assignee: Westinghouse Electric Company LLC
    Inventors: Artem Aleshin, David S. Huegel, William Cleary
  • Patent number: 11114212
    Abstract: A method of generating power using a Thorium-containing molten salt fuel is disclosed. One example includes the steps of providing a vessel containing a molten salt fuel, generating a proton beam externally to the vessel, where the externally generated proton beam being of an energy level sufficient to interact with the salt in the vessel to produce a (p, n) reaction resulting in the generation of a neutron at the first energy level. Neutrons generated within the vessel through the (p, n) reactions caused by the externally generated proton's interaction with the at least one salt are utilized to produce a fission reaction where the fission reaction increases the heat content of the molten salt within the vessel. In the example, a heat exchanger is used to extract heat from the molten salt within the vessel and power is generated from the extracted heat.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 20, 2019
    Date of Patent: September 7, 2021
    Assignee: Texas Thorium, LLC
    Inventors: Lin Shao, Yassin A. Hassan, Rodolfo Vaghetto, Holloway H. Frost, Trevor D. Parker
  • Patent number: 11114209
    Abstract: In some embodiments, a nuclear reactor vessel comprises a containment vessel for a reactor pressure vessel (RPV); a control rod drive mechanism (CRDM) located in the containment vessel, the CRDM including drive motors configured to move control rods into and out of a nuclear reactor core located in the RPV; and a partition extending across a portion of the containment vessel configured to retain the drive motors in a separate fluid-tight barrier region within the containment vessel. Other embodiments may be disclosed and/or claimed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 19, 2018
    Date of Patent: September 7, 2021
    Assignee: NuScale Power, LLC
    Inventor: Tamas Liszkai
  • Patent number: 11101046
    Abstract: The invention concerns a nuclear reactor comprising a vessel closed at the top by a radially external fixed closing structure and by a radially internal mobile closing structure. The vessel contains a core immersed in a primary cooling fluid and comprising fuel elements, control rods, shutdown rods, and a hydraulic separation structure delimiting a hot manifold and a cold manifold in which the primary fluid circulates. The control rods and the shutdown rods are inserted in respective penetrations of the fixed closing structure and are therefore located radially external to the mobile closing structure and external to an upper portion of the separation structure containing respective heads of the fuel elements.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 4, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 24, 2021
    Assignee: HYDROMINE NUCLEAR ENERGY S.A.RL.
    Inventor: Luciano Cinotti
  • Patent number: 11094423
    Abstract: A method that provides a more direct indication of peak fuel rod centerline temperature and peak fuel rod clad temperature than conventionally inferred from the power distribution by directly and continuously measuring the fuel temperatures of the fuel pellets in one or more of the hottest fuel elements in the core. The peak fuel rod clad temperature is then obtained from the maximum measured peak fuel rod centerline temperature in combination with the maximum coolant core exit temperature and the minimum coolant flow rate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 1, 2019
    Date of Patent: August 17, 2021
    Assignee: Westinghouse Electric Company LLC
    Inventors: Michael D. Heibel, Jorge V. Carvajal, Shawn C. Stafford, Jeffrey L. Arndt
  • Patent number: 11081241
    Abstract: Nuclear fuel elements may include: a fuel zone including fuel particles disposed in parallel layers in a matrix including graphite powder; and a shell comprising graphite and surrounding the fuel zone. The fuel particles may include fissile particles, burnable poison particles, breeder particles, or a combination thereof. The fuel zone may include a central region and a peripheral region surrounding the central region, and a fuel particle density of the peripheral region may be greater than a fuel particle density of the central region.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 1, 2019
    Date of Patent: August 3, 2021
    Assignee: X-ENERGY, LLC
    Inventors: Peter Pappano, Martin Peter Van Staden
  • Patent number: 11079512
    Abstract: The detection and assay of fissionable material is carried out on a container known or suspected to have a material with at least one fissionable isotope. The material is irradiated with neutrons from two or more different neutron sources. The fission rates inducted at each irradiation energy are acquired with at least one neutron detector. A multispectral active neutron interrogation analysis (MANIA) is carried out to compare the detected fission rates of the neutron spectra with calculated fission rates where an iterative algorithm is carried out on a system of linear equations to solve for the isotopic composition of one or more isotopes to determine the presence, identity, and quantities of fissionable isotopes in said container.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 8, 2019
    Date of Patent: August 3, 2021
    Assignee: University of Florida Research Foundation, Incorporated
    Inventors: Kelly A. Jordan, Jason M. Lewis
  • Patent number: 11075013
    Abstract: This disclosure describes various configurations and components of a molten fuel fast or thermal nuclear reactor in which one or more primary heat exchangers are located above the reactor core of the nuclear reactor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2019
    Date of Patent: July 27, 2021
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Ryan Abbott, Anselmo T. Cisneros, Jr., Mark R. Werner
  • Patent number: 11075017
    Abstract: The modular lower moving system for nuclear fuel handling includes: a lower reactor vessel assembly including nuclear fuel loaded therein; a carrier having a space allowing the lower reactor vessel assembly to be accommodated therein; a rail extending from a reactor area to a fuel handling area; a transfer cart horizontally movable along the rail; a lifting device installed at the transfer cart, movable upward or downward with respect to the transfer cart; and a drive device configured to supply power to the transfer cart and the lifting device. The method of refueling nuclear fuel using the modular lower moving system includes a carrier lifting process, a lower reactor vessel assembly detachment process, a process of accommodating the lower reactor vessel assembly in the carrier, a carrier lowering process, a transfer cart movement process, a nuclear fuel offloading process, and a nuclear fuel loading process.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 26, 2018
    Date of Patent: July 27, 2021
    Assignee: KEPCO ENGINEERING & CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC.
    Inventors: Kwang Jeok Ko, Ho Jung Lee, Min Gyu Kim, Yeon Ho Cho, Hyun Min Kim
  • Patent number: 11069449
    Abstract: An electrochemically modulated molten salt reactor (EMMSR) that contains a vessel and a power source. The vessel houses a fuel salt, at least a portion of a neutron moderator, and at least a portion of an insulator. The fuel salt includes enough dissolved fissile isotopes to cause continued self-sustaining fission reactions during the operation of the EMMSR. The neutron moderator is configured to slow down fast neutrons produced by the dissolved fissile isotopes. The insulator is configured to electrically isolate the neutron moderator from the vessel. The power source has a positive potential and a negative potential. The positive potential is received by the neutron moderator and the negative potential is received by the vessel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 28, 2019
    Date of Patent: July 20, 2021
    Assignee: Department of Energy
    Inventor: Junhua Jiang
  • Patent number: 11062812
    Abstract: A floating nuclear power reactor including one or two nuclear power reactors positioned in a floating vessel such as a barge or the like. Means is disclosed for flooding the containment structure of the nuclear reactor and for flooding the reactor vessels to cool the same.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 13, 2018
    Date of Patent: July 13, 2021
    Inventor: Palvannanathan Ganesan
  • Patent number: 11062811
    Abstract: A thermal control system for a reactor pressure vessel comprises a plate having a substantially circular shape that is attached to a wall of the reactor pressure vessel. The plate divides the reactor pressure vessel into an upper reactor pressure vessel region and a lower reactor pressure vessel region. Additionally, the plate is configured to provide a thermal barrier between a pressurized volume located within the upper reactor pressure vessel region and primary coolant located within the lower reactor pressure vessel region. One or more plenums provide a passageway for a plurality of heat transfer tubes to pass fluid through the wall of the reactor pressure vessel. The plurality of heat transfer tubes are connected to the plate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 4, 2018
    Date of Patent: July 13, 2021
    Assignee: NuScale Power, LLC
    Inventors: Tamas Liszkai, Seth Cadell, Alex Kruskamp, Matthew Mallet
  • Patent number: 11049625
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a sintered nuclear fuel pellet wherein one or more consolidated bodies of a burnable absorber are inserted inside, wherein the one or more consolidated bodies of the burnable absorber do not include nuclear fuel which includes UO2, and the one or more consolidated bodies of the burnable absorber are inserted into a radially central region of the sintered nuclear fuel pellet, such that the one or more consolidated bodies are surrounded by the nuclear fuel pellet without being exposed to an outside of the sintered nuclear fuel pellet. The present invention can optimize the regulation of excess reactivity by optimizing the self-shielding and the burning speed of the burnable absorber using one or more consolidated bodies the burnable absorber.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 29, 2021
    Assignee: KOREA ADVANCED INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
    Inventors: Yonghee Kim, Ho Jin Ryu, Mohd Syukri bin Yahya, Qusai Mahmoud Mohammad Mistarihi, Chihyung Kim
  • Patent number: 11037687
    Abstract: Systems, methods, and devices of the various embodiments enable a Nuclear Thermionic Avalanche Cell (NTAC) to capture gamma ray photons emitted during a fission process, such as a fission process of Uranium-235 (U-235), and to breed and use a new gamma ray source to increase an overall emission flux of gamma ray photons. Various embodiments combine a fission process with the production of Co-60, thereby boosting the output flux of gamma ray photons for use by a NTAC in generating power. Various embodiments combine a fission process with the production of Co-60, a NTAC generating avalanche cell power, and a thermoelectric generator generating thermoelectric power.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 13, 2019
    Date of Patent: June 15, 2021
    Assignee: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AS REPRESENTED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR OF NASA
    Inventors: Sang H. Choi, Ronald J. Litchford
  • Patent number: 11037688
    Abstract: Fuel bundles for a nuclear reactor are described and illustrated, and in some cases includes fuel elements each having a first fuel component of recycled uranium, and a second fuel component of at least one of depleted uranium and natural uranium blended with the first fuel component, wherein the blended first and second fuel components have a first fissile content of less than 1.2% wt of 235U. Other fuel bundles are also described and illustrated, and include a first fuel element including recycled uranium, the first fuel element having a first fissile content of no less than 0.72 wt % of 235U; and a second fuel element including at least one of depleted uranium and natural uranium, the second fuel element having a second fissile content of no greater than 0.71 wt % of 235U.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 14, 2018
    Date of Patent: June 15, 2021
    Assignee: ATOMIC ENERGY OF CANADA LIMITED
    Inventors: Sermet Kuran, Mustapha Boubcher, Cathy Cottrell, Eric Carl Alemendra Araujo
  • Patent number: 11031141
    Abstract: A method including providing a nuclear reactor neutron source that includes an enclosure delimiting a chamber, a nuclear reactor core arranged inside the chamber and configured to produce neutrons from a nuclear fuel element inside the nuclear reactor core; installing a beam generator arranged to generate a beam directed into the chamber; and installing, inside the chamber, a target arranged to eject neutrons upon impact of the beam such that neutrons are ejected from the target and emitted from the chamber.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 8, 2021
    Assignees: European Spallation Source Eric, Mifler Consulting KFT
    Inventors: Ferenc Mezei, Luca Zanini